Views from the corner

May 14, 2008

How computers can make us sick

I doubt if anyone who has at least studied in grade school hasn’t used computers even once in their lives. And we can debate all day how badly we need to be in front of it. It’s like some or most can’t function properly without typing and almost all high-paying job require us to use the computer. It’s benefits cannot be doubted and questioned but then again, there are also hazards we can’t ignore.

1. Computer germs – A study showed that the germ count on computer keyboards are 60 times higher than on toilet seats with an average of 3,295 bacteria per square inch. Imagine, moer germs than a toilet seat. I don’t want to imagine how much harmful that is.

How to fight it: Clean your keyboard and mouse often with with computer wipes and other equipment-friendly products. Even a washcloth and a regular sanitizer can will do to eliminate the bacteria.

2. Computer vision syndrome – Computer-related vision problems include; eyestrain, tired eyes, irritation,redness, blurry or double vision. These are caused by environmental conditions such as poor lighting, glare,display quality, and radiation.

How to avoid it: Adjust the brightnes and position of the screen to eliminate glare and avoid eyestrain.

3. Repetitive motion disorders – The most common is the carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful condition caused by pressure on the main nerve that runs through the wrist. This happens when you use the computer and the mouse for more than 20 hours a week. Now, who doesn’t spend less hours than that?!

How to avoid it: Keep the height of your seat at a level that allows you to work the keyboard and the mouse with your wrists and elbows at a perpendicular angle, and your shoulders relaxed.

Now I know we can’t avoid facing the computer. I am one of those as my job entails to be in front of it 10-12 hours a day. Much of what we do now are dependent on these good,old computers. We may not feel the effects now, but they will have a lifetime impact on our health, no matter what kind of computer we have, I know we can’t avoid using it, but lessen exposure as much as we can.



  1. Nice list. Don’t forget Leukemia/anemia and cancers from radiation? 😮

    Comment by budz — May 22, 2008 @ 3:41 am

  2. 1. The germs on my keyboard are mine, and my body is quite familiar with them. I don’t see a risk there. We are too germ-phobic today anyway. Clean it every few months if you’re really worried. I’ve been using computers since 1970, almost never cleaned a keyboard other than to dust it or shake out the cookie crumbs, and no probleemo.
    2. Good advice, but the best remedy is to stand up, stretch, and look at something quite a distance away for a minute every 20-30 minutes. As a long term eyestrain sufferer I have found that to work best (and my doctor concurs).
    3. Absolutely right. Carpal tunnel and nerve compression syndromes are real bummers. I learned to keyboard like a pianist, with wrists raised and fingers hanging down, as opposed to keyboarding like an organist, with the heels of the hands resting and the fingers arcing up and over. I got nerve compression syndrome in my wrists from resting them on one of those wrist rests. Now I don’t need one, and the syndrome is gone, because I never rest my wrists. I also put my mouse pad and keyboard right on the edge of the desk so there is no place to rest my wrists. The only time I find it’s OK to rest my wrists is if my mouse arm is supported on the desk almost to the elbow.
    4. As to the previous comment, there is NO evidence of electromagnetic radiation causing cancer, despite almost a century of testing. (Yet, some people still get a lot of attention and make a lot of money off the easily frightened … a crime in my opinion. Telling lies for profit SHOULD be a crime.)

    Happy computing! – Tim

    Comment by timprosser — May 28, 2008 @ 12:45 pm

  3. There are new addictions around that involve computers, examples are: chat rooms, online games etc.

    Comment by Hans Ricke — May 28, 2008 @ 12:48 pm

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